Whoa, that’s a mouthful. Bear with me we’ll get to the bottom of it.
Allow me to set the stage: I had the most lovely weekend with my Mom this past weekend. She came up to go with me to the MFA’s special exihibit:Degas and the Nude. Which by the way, its brilliant. A must see. Go now - it ends this weekend! (To see a full recap our weekend in pictures hop on over to my guest post tomorrow on the new & fabulous blog The Loud and Clear.)
Our weekend started with the most luxurious treat, along with my dear childhood friend, my mom and I attended Yin Yoga, led by Carolyn, with Live Cello accompaniment by Nirmal at Bow Street Yoga.
Yin Yoga? Yin is a yoga practice based on the Chinese meridian system (the same system worked through acupuncture). Postures are held for several minutes to allow the muscles to relax and to create a deep stretch all the way down to the connective tissue of the body. Don’t be fooled to think this is a walk in the park, just because you’re not flowing like a more typical “yang” class, this is absolutely work - both physically and mentally.
Om: As it turns out Nirmal isn’t only a talented cellist, he’s also on the up and up when it comes to sanksrit and Hindu theology. At the beginning of class we each received a book mark with a mantra: Om Namo Narayanayah. Some people are all about chanting and Oming, some people aren’t - either way no biggie, participation at will was the name of the game.
We opened class with a quick intro to this mantra, as Nirmal explained: ‘Narayana (one of the names of Hindu god Vishnu) is the sleeping blue god who rests on the cosmic serpent Ananta, who is floating in an ocean of milk. “Nara-” can mean both “water” and “living creatures”, and “-ayana” means “resting place” or “shelter”. So one interpretation of Narayana “the shelter of all living creatures.” As Narayana sleeps, a lotus flower grows from his belly button. When the lotus blooms, Brahma is sitting on the blossom - as soon as Brahma opens his eyes the universe is created.
It is believed Narayana’s essence is in the soul of every creature and we have the potential to tap into that divine nature, that little bit of Narayana residing inside each of us. The mantra “Om Namo Narayanayah” can help us contemplate that yet-to-be-manifested divinity inside us all.’
No, no, no - no one is expecting you to become Narayana or become a god. This mantra, simply put, helps us think of those great parts of ourselves that are still yet to be and ask for them to become manifested in us today. Something about this resonated with me in a profound way.
To make matters even more relevant we learned that water, which you may recall is one of the meanings of “Nara-“, is the represented element for winter. Winter is seen as the time of rest, rejuvenation, hibernation, preparation for the Spring - which is seen as the rebirth, time for change, time to manifest change. How perfect is that?
Maybe this is all getting a little “heady” and spiritual for you and that’s totally fine, I’m not offended! But for someone who is not overtly religious it was a profoundly blissful experience that I’ve been thinking about every since. You don’t have to approach every moment of every day with such specific thought and purpose but it’s classes and workshops like this one that help me have these moments of reflection and make more subtle changes in my day-to-day approach.
What is it that I can do today to manifest the untapped greatness inside me, to exist closer to a perfect version of me, to use winter’s long nights to reflect & rejuvenate so I can shed the old and welcome the new of spring and manifest the change to get me there.
In short, this is why I often say - Yoga is my church.
* Many thanks to Bow Street Yoga’s website for helping me find the words to describe Yin Yoga, Carolyn for a wonderful evening of practice and Nirmal for his generous time and follow up email when the subtleties of Narayana’s meaning had escaped me post-class.
Upon seeing this post over at Design*Sponge I immediately starting evaluating my life.
What have I been doing for 29 years that hasn’t resulted in me leading a life that requires a BICYCLE WINE RACK!?!
I mean clearly this is the way life was meant to be lived. Consider this a one of those epiphany moments that re-directs my vision of my life as I know it.
My friend has a theory, that if everyone would just be awesome then the world would be a better place. Be awesome to yourself, be awesome to others and if everyone partook in this philosophy the world would just plain be awesome.
I mean simple, but true indeed.
This beautiful typography & print reminded me of Mike’s Awesome Theory and its a good reminder for us all. You can pick it up over here at Super Swoon. (P.S. what a great shop name!)
Pop-up restaurants, pop-up store fronts, pop-up videos (ok so maybe that last one hasn’t happened since VH1 circa 1996), however pop-up “fill-in-the-blank” seems to be the trend these days. Though nothing I have seen to date has been as magical (that’s right I went there - magical) as this Pop-up Dinner with Jordan Ferney at Oh Happy Day.
Do yourself a favor and click through the whole post, don’t stop here.
What I would give to start my day off with this breakfast treat in this adorable cafe - not too shabby that its in Paris too. One day I will get myself to Paris!!!
From a daily read and daily favorite: Jordan Ferney over at Oh Happy Day!